Winners' Circle

Acknowledge Our Smallest Patriots

Have you ever broken or fractured a bone? I’ve been pretty lucky in my life by avoiding this, fingers crossed. A bone break is typically caused by an excessive external force causing the bone to move in a way it normally wouldn’t. Once a break or fracture occurs, it hurts. In fact, it can hurt A LOT!

It probably will take some consoling of the person in pain to calm them down. Next is a trip to the doctor, perhaps a sling or a cast and regular check-ups to make sure the healing process is going smoothly. So why the heck am I talking about broken bones here in Military Spouse? Because it reminds me of my kids.

Before you think #MSOY16 has lost her marbles, stay with me. I look at my children, ages 5 and 10. They have been through so much in their life, things I never had to deal with when I was growing up. They have their own excessive external forces that move them in directions they don’t want to go.

If you’ve ever held your child in the middle of the street as they’re sobbing because they are watching their best friend drive away to another duty station, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. For all intents and purposes, at that moment in their life, they are broken.

I’m sure many of us with children have experienced something like this at one point in time or another. Whether it is a PCS move, a deployment or separation from a parent, or yet another friend leaving them – there are too many times in a milkid’s life that are full of disruption. The struggles of military kids come in various forms, and as a mom I try my best to recognize these and treat it just like I would the earlier mentioned broken bone.

Comfort first, then “treat” it by talking it out and rationalizing. Check in regularly, because sometimes kids will pretend they’re doing okay when really they’re not (a trick they may or may not have picked up from their parents). I can only hope the healing will eventually come with time, similar to a physical injury.

A broken or fractured bone is actually stronger during its healing process. A callus forms around the site that hardens and remodels itself into a new bone. During these times of struggle I try to be the “callus” for my kids, the thing that can make them stronger through the healing process until they are anew again.

I know there are dozens of articles out there professing the increased resiliency of military kids, but in these moments of uncertainty, fear and sadness, these kids are still mine to protect. During the month of the military child, and especially as we are winding up for PCS season 2017, I encourage us all to be a little more aware and acknowledging of the struggles our smallest patriots face.

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